INVEST Africa has announced that it will early next year undertake its fourth investor mission this time to Zambia.
During a panel discussion in London on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 on the topic ‘Industrialisation in Africa: Seizing Opportunities in Global Value Chains’, Invest Africa Chief Executive Officer Karen Taylor said there was something in Zambia interesting to investors in the United Kingdom.
“With the long ties and now under President [Hakainde] Hichilema, the reforms that all of us have been waiting for are there and it [Zambia] really does need maximum support from the private sector,” she said. “So for those of you interested in Zambia, please do give us a shout.”
The investor mission is being planned for March 2023.
Faisal Durrani, Knight Frank’s Partner – Head of Middle East Research, unpacked the challenges and opportunities available in Africa’s agriculture, transport, infrastructure, energy and e-commerce.
He said owing to COVID, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in Africa declined by about 2.6 per cent but shot up last year to more than 12 per cent.
He said this year and next year expectation was that GDP would moderate to between 3 and 4 per cent largely due to a weakening in business confidence driven by global inflation.
“And actually when we look at countries like Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa and we look at the purchasing managers’ indexes, they are actually sitting at about 50 at the moment,” he said. “Those of you familiar with PMI readings, an indicator of over 50 suggest that businesses are growing and expanding. A reading below 50 suggests that they are contracting. So if you are sitting at about 50, that’s kind of implying a little bit of stagnation.”
Mr Durrani also talked about the various infrastructure challenges that were being fixed in various countries in Africa.
On land, he said most of Africa had land with had high to medium agricultural grade potential but the amount that was actually cultivated was quite low.
“And the reasons for that are high land costs and inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure. But that is starting to chance…. In Zambia, we are seeing the government trying to renovate and refurbish all old agro processing facilities to create new supply and also encourage demand,” Mr Durrani said. “And Zambia is an interesting one because 60 per cent of the country is classed as having high agricultural potential but right now just 15 per cent of the country is cultivated. So you can see that clear gap for potential growth in this very important sector.”
He said the e-commerce market was also booming in Africa fueled by changing consumer patterns of preferring to purchase products and services online.
“There is a boom in Egypt and Kenya and it is coming into markets like Zambia,” said Mr Durrani.
Invest Africa is a leading business and investment platform, using over sixty years’ experience in Africa to provide its members with unique information and exposure to business opportunities. It is headquartered in London but with chapters in Johannesburg, New York, Dubai and Geneva.
First Secretary – Press